Cocaine #2

All the places he consumed cocaine. All the rooms and flats and houses. All the pubs and nightclubs and restaurants. The theatres and cinemas. Galleries and museums. Libraries and universities. Train stations and airports. Casinos and strip clubs.

All the kitchens and living rooms and bathrooms and bedrooms. Desks and bedside tables. Park benches and alleyways. Train carriages and the back seats of buses.

All the homes of friends and friends of friends and people he didn’t know. The coffee tables and kitchen worktops and toilet seats. Discrete shelves in concealed places. Strange people in unfamiliar settings. Familiar people in strange configurations.

All the portaloos and aeroplane cubicles and supermarket toilets. The cisterns and hand sanitisers and toilet roll dispensers. Boxed-in pipework. Greasy surfaces. Smeared excretions. The stale smell of urine. The sour odour of benzoylecgonine.

The bolt snicking the lock. The tentantive tipping. Preparation of line and note. The application with precise care.

All the times he had stood waiting for the man. The inquisitive texts. Hurried phone calls. Short detours on his commute home. The minutes and seconds running into hours. Waiting for the car at the designated destination. All the corners of the city he came to know from pacing the streets in concentric circles.

All the back seats and front seats and the accumulated miles of ten second rides. The small talk and bonhomie. The quick exchange. The folded cash. The baggies of coke.

Leaving the car to slip back into the jostling crowds. The empty suburban streets. Another faceless commuter. Another interminable journey.

All the times when cocaine was consumed. The specific instances. Special occasions and every day occurrences. Birthdays and anniversaries. Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Whitsun weekends. Stag dos and weddings. Club nights and poetry gigs.

All the house parties and street parties and work parties and after-work drinks. The last train home a symphony of sniffing.

If he was out drinking he was almost always taking cocaine and if he was out drinking he was almost always taking cocaine and if he wasn’t in or out drinking he was still taking cocaine just to pass the time.

Big nights out. Quiet nights in.

Dissolute Fridays. Hungover Sundays. Midweek casuals. Early morning pick-me-ups.

And every time he used cocaine, every time he bought it, snorted it, insufflated or ingested it, he moved a little further from the person he used to be and a little closer to the person he hoped to become.

All the cumulative moments. The minutes and hours and days. Weeks and months and years.

All the times he could remember. All those he could not.